I'm looking for an electronic deck-building card game, where you don't have to collect the cards to play.

I'm looking for something similar to Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering Online, but where you don't have a different card collection from everyone else. (Rather than a free-to-play game where you have to collect cards slowly or else pay for packs, I'm looking for a subscription-based or one-time purchase game where you have the full card collection and then can build decks and play games based on that.)

The closest I've found to a game like this is Spectromancer. Knowing if there's a generic term would help to find other similar games. Trying to Google a "trading card game without trading" or "collectible card game without collecting" doesn't exactly yield helpful results.

Is there a term for a game like this?


2 Answers 2


It looks like there are actually two terms for this type of game, depending on the distribution model (repeated subscription-like purchases or a one-time purchase).

A "Living Card Game" (LCG) is game where you buy the full set of cards at once. Later expansions may come out, which can be purchased separately.

A "Deck-Building Game" is a game where you buy a full set of cards once and then play with them. The best known of these is likely Dominion.

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    A second distinction between the two terms might be that with a Living Card Game you build the deck at the start of the game and with a Deck-Building Game you build the deck throughout the game. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 0:01
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    Deck-building games are an entirely different kind of game, they have barely anything in common with CCGs/TCGs. What you're looking for is much closer to LCGs, although I'm not aware of any digital games using the term. Since you're looking for something close to Hearthstone or Magic, Epic might go into the right direction, but they don't use the term LCG as far as I'm aware. One key element of the kind of games you're looking for is the ability to play a "draft(ing)" mode, as well as a "contructed" mode. You might have more success searching for these terms.
    – scenia
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 11:57
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    I was going to answer with Living Card Game, you should accept this one as correct. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 21:50

These type of games are called Deck-building games.

A deck-building game is a card game that uses building a deck as the main focus of the gameplay. It is similar to collectible card games (CCGs) in that each player has their own deck. However, unlike CCGs, the cards are not sold in randomized packs, and the majority of the deck is built during the game, instead of before the game. Typically, the cards provide a type of game currency which allows players to buy more cards to add to their decks.


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